Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s latest stumble couldn’t have come at a better moment for GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain.
For one news cycle, after more than a week of uncomfortable press, the Stockbridge businessman and former pizza executive wasn’t in the first line of daily political reports. My AJC colleague Daniel Malloy has the first take from the suburbs of Detroit.
The New York Times was among many outlets to focus on why Perry’s brain freeze reinforced fears among Republican insiders about how Perry would fare President Barack Obama in next year’s general election debates:
For any other candidate, the moment may have been quickly forgotten or easily explained. But for Mr. Perry, whose candidacy has been consistently undercut by his debate performances, the gravity of the matter grew obvious as chuckles in the Republican audience turned to gasps. The lapse reinforced negative stereotypes about his candidacy, a point that was made clear after the debate when he made a rare trip into an adjoining room to face reporters and try to brush away what had happened.
“I’m glad I had my boots on tonight,” Mr. Perry said, “because I sure stepped in it out there.”
Cain, it should be mentioned, walked back one of his own comments of the night. From the Associated Press:
Still, even as he faced allegations of unwanted sexual advances against women, Cain stumbled on Wednesday night by mocking the first female House speaker Nancy Pelosi as “Princess Nancy.”
During the CNBC debate, Cain said Pelosi — now House minority leader — blocked any effort when she was speaker of the House to repeal Democrats’ health care overhaul, legislation she helped marshal through.
After the debate, he told CNBC he “probably should not have made” that comment.
The role that this non-stop string of debates has played in the Republican presidential contest can’t be underestimated. Even before the CNBC debate, an estimated 66 percent of GOP and independent voters had tuned in to at least one.
And yet – perhaps because of those debates – the contest remains remarkably fluid. On Wednesday, Clemson University released its 2012 Palmetto Poll of 600 likely South Carolina voters:
Nearly 70 percent (68 percent) of those polled had not yet decided on a candidate and a similar number said they were most likely to change their minds between now and January when they do have a choice….
Among respondents who had chosen a candidate, the Palmetto Poll showed Mitt Romney (22 percent) and Herman Cain (20 percent) leading the field. The third-place candidate was Newt Gingrich (10 percent), followed by Rick Perry (9 percent).
Erick Erickson of Redstate.org is urging Herman Cain to fire his current staff. “Herman, you must reboot for victory,” he writes.
My AJC colleague Bill Rankin writes today about a Brunswick judge who runs the state’s largest drug court operation – and now faces accusations of indefinitely detaining defendants who were not allowed to have any contact with their family or their lawyers. For you folks down on the coast, click here to read the actual charges by the Judicial Qualifications Commission.
In a state where unemployment hovers above 10 percent, it’s hard to conceive of a state agency that would be handing out signing bonuses to new hires. But Richard Belcher of Channel 2 Action News says it happens:
Democratic politics in Bibb County are getting complicated. From the Macon Telegraph:
Daryl Morton is stepping down as chairman of the Bibb County Democratic Party.
Morton, who has drawn fire in recent weeks from a group of fellow Democrats, said in a statement Wednesday afternoon that he would resign effective Tuesday….
Last month, a group of Democrats, including former Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis, drew up a list of grievances against Morton and signed a petition seeking his removal. Among the complaints were that Morton and his wife, Amy, had backed particular Democratic candidates, including Robert Reichert, during this summer’s primary election. Reichert subsequently defeated Ellis in the Democratic mayoral runoff.
Ellis said Morton’s actions were not right. Morton should have stayed neutral during the primary and not chosen sides, he said.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider